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Can I be under the limit and still get a DUI?

under the limit DUI

Yes, your blood alcohol level may be under the .08 limit, but the police can still charge you with a DUI if the arresting police officer believed your driving was impaired due to your consumption of alcohol or drugs.  This is according to:-

California Vehicle Code VC 23152(a)

(a) It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.

The DUI law in California has 2 parts:-

VC 23152(b) Driving with a level of .08 or higher –
If you take a blood or breath test and your result is .08 or higher you will be charged with violating this DUI law.

VC 23152(a) This part of the DUI law in California states that you are not allowed to drive under the influence of alcohol or drug or both.

Under the limit DUI

This is an opinion crime which means if the officer thinks in his opinion that you are under the influence of alcohol or a drug he can arrest you for a DUI in accordance with VC 23152(a). This law gives the officer the power to arrest you even if you have a breath or blood result under .08. If the officer feels you have been drinking and driving and he believes you are under the influence he can arrest you for a DUI. The officer will usually consider the following to form his opinion:

Definition of  Driving Under the Influence

A person is considered under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, drug, or combination of alcohol and drugs when his/her physical or mental abilities are impaired to such a degree that he/she no longer has the ability to drive a vehicle with the caution characteristic of a sober person of ordinary prudence, under the same or similar circumstances.

VC 23152(a)

If you blow a breath result under .08 you can still be charged with a DUI if the officer believes in his opinion you are under the influence of alcohol i.e. you are impaired by alcohol as this law allows people to be charged with a DUI even if they have a breath result under .08 such as .07 or .06.

If you refuse to take a breath or blood test you can still be charged with a DUI under this law (VC 23152(a)) if the officer believes in his opinion you are under the influence of alcohol and impaired.

If the officer suspects you have consumed a drug (the drug can be legal or illegal) and the drug has affected your ability to drive you can be charged with a DUI under this law (VC 23152(a)) if the officer believes in his opinion you are under the influence of a drug and impaired.

In summary, this law has given the police a lot of power as they can arrest and have someone charged with a DUI based simply on their opinion. If the officer thinks in his opinion you are under the influence of alcohol or a drug you can be charged with a DUI even if your breath or blood result is under .08 and you can be charged with a DUI even if you refused to take a breath or blood test.